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R41848.pdf - Intelligence Information: Need-to-Know vs....

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CRS Report for CongressPrepared for Members and Committees of CongressIntelligence Information: Need-to-Know vs.Need-to-ShareRichard A. Best Jr.Specialist in National DefenseJune 6, 2011Congressional Research Service7-5700R41848
Intelligence Information: Need-to-Know vs. Need-to-ShareCongressional Research ServiceSummaryUnauthorized disclosures of classified intelligence are seen as doing significant damage to U.S.security. This is the case whether information is disclosed to a foreign government or publishedon the Internet. On the other hand, if intelligence is not made available to government officialswho need it to do their jobs, enormous expenditures on collection, analysis, and dissemination arewasted. These conflicting concerns require careful and difficult balancing.Investigations of the 9/11 attacks concluded that both technical and policy barriers had limitedsharing of information collected by different agencies that, if viewed together, could haveprovided useful insight into the unfolding plot. A consensus emerged that U.S. intelligenceagencies should share information more widely in order that analysts could integrate cluesacquired by different agencies in order to “connect the dots.”Major statutory and regulatory changes were made to facilitate information sharing amongagencies. An Information Sharing Environment was created within the new Office of the Directorof National Intelligence in order to establish policies, procedures, and technologies to link people,systems, and information from government agencies. In law and in Federal regulations a cultureof sharing has been established in the Intelligence Community.Although government officials maintain that policies designed in recent years to increase sharinghave helped prevent a number of serious terrorist attacks and contributed significantly to the May2, 2011 operation against Osama bin Laden, the results have been uneven and, in some cases,unfortunate. Reviews of the Fort Hood shooting in 2009 and the attempted bombing of acommercial airliner the following Christmas revealed that serious obstacles to informationsharing had not been completely overcome. At the same time, wide availability of StateDepartment cables provided the opportunity for massive leaks of classified documents (includingsome intelligence materials) through the WikiLeaks website and cooperating media.Despite these developments, support for information sharing among intelligence agencies remainsstrong within both the executive branch and Congress. Intelligence Community representativeshave recently described new technologies and procedures to enhance information securityincluding capabilities to determine who has had access to particular reports. Members ofCongress included legislative initiatives to accomplish similar goals in FY2011 intelligenceauthorization legislation (H.R. 754) that has passed both the House and Senate. The challenge

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Term
Summer
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Tags
Test, Central Intelligence Agency, U S Intelligence Community

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